Many people will have had their fill of cheese, chocolate and meat over Christmas and have felt much more energised after going vegan in January (an event known as Veganuary).
This invigorating feeling is largely due to the increase in fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses as opposed to the cutting out of meat and dairy, but it’s still a big win.
A 2015 study of different dietary patterns showed that vegans had an average daily fibre intake of 41g, compared with vegetarians, flexitarians and pescatarians at 34g. Omnivores get a mere 27g of fibre a day, on average.
What to take forward from Veganuary
While the jury is still out on whether a vegan diet is healthier than a well-balanced omnivorous diet in the long run, you may well have picked up some new recipes and ideas for eating more plants. And we know that increasing fruit and veg intake is great for your body and may even help prevent depression.
Eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables has been a message we’ve been hearing for a while, but with the progressing research into polyphenols, which are the compounds that dictate the colour of the plant, getting the benefit of the full range of polyphenols on offer is likely to optimise your health in many ways.
Maybe you’ve experimented with a few new fruits or vegetables, so keep up with the increased variety.
The latest publication from EAT-Lancet suggests that the best diet for your health and for the planet includes around 45g of meat per day (or one small portion on alternate days) and 28g of fish per day, which is about the amount you might have in a sandwich. They also recommend 250g of dairy per day, which could be a glass of milk.
This diet has come under fire for being nutritionally inadequate, but most experts agree that reducing meat consumption to one portion per day and having more plants instead protects your health.